Le Corbusier: The modulor (1954)

Le Corbusier's The Modulor Cover

26/01/12 – Select illustrations from Le Corbusier’s The modulor: a harmonious measure to the human scale universally applicable to architecture and mechanics published by Faber and Faber (1954). (more…)

The Penguin Poets redesign by Jan Tschichold (1948)


15/12/10 – Two early examples of titles from the Penguin Poets series: (left) John Overton’s [?] original design of 1946 and (right) Jan Tschichold’s reformed design of 1951. (more…)

Jan Tschichold’s design for Penguin Scores 1949

Penguin Scores no. 3: 1949

23/11/10 – A selection of examples from the Penguin Scores series designed by Jan Tschichold in 1949. The series used a horizontal version of Penguin’s larger B size with typography set in Garamond and background patterns by Stephen Russ, Elizabeth Friedlander, Barbara Lambourne, and many others. (more…)

Jan Tschichold’s redesign for Pelican Books 1949


11/10/10 – Two examples of early Pelican titles: (left) Edward Young’s original horizontal grid design of 1937 and (right) Jan Tschichold’s reformed design of 1949. (more…)

The Penguin Shakespeare redesign by Jan Tschichold 1949

The Penguin Shakespeare: 1947 & 1949

27/09/10 – The Penguin Shakespeare series: Edward Young’s [?] original design (1938) and Jan Tschichold’s revision (1949). (more…)

Max Bill: Form (1952)

Form: a balance sheet of mid-twentieth century trends in design (1952)
20/09/10 – Selections from Max Bill’s Form: a balance sheet of mid-twentieth century trends in design published in 1952 by Verlag Karl Werner, Basel. (more…)

Design in Scandinavia exhibition catalogue (1954)

Design in Scandinavia: an exhibition of objects for the home (1954)

13/09/10 – Exhibition catalogue for Design in Scandinavia: an exhibition of objects for the home (1954), the first major exhibition of Scandinavian design to travel to North America. The exhibition showcased ceramics, furniture, glassware, metalwork and textiles from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and was pivotal in introducing modern Scandinavian design to North America. (more…)

Penguin’s horizontal grid design and Tschichold’s reforms

Penguin Books: 1938 & 1958

31/08/10 – Two examples of early Penguin paperback covers: Edward Young’s horizontal grid of the 1930s and Jan Tschichold’s reformed design of the 1950s. (more…)

Czech National Spartakiad sports competition graphics

Spartakiad sports competitions

30/07/10 – National Spartakiad matchbox label designs from Czechoslovakia circa 1959. The Spartakiads were mass sporting competitions created by the Soviet Union originally meant as an alternative to the Olympic movement. Competitions took place both in the summer and winter months and brought together competitors on regional, national and international levels. (more…)

Kay Bojesen teak and limba wood monkey (1951)

Kay Bojesen Teak and Limba Wood Monkey

27/07/10 – Teak and limba wood toy monkey with articulated joints designed and produced by Kay Bojesen and his workshop in Denmark c. 1951. Available today complete with Henri Rousseau themed packaging through Rosendhal.

Czechoslovak Red Cross matchbox label series (1959)

Pecujte o cistotu pracovist

16/07/10 – Matchbox label series from 1959 for the Czechoslovak Red Cross. Messages include such wise adages as: “Alcoholism ruins society.” “Play safe!” “Keep your town clean.” and “Respiratory exams catch TB early.” (more…)

Lambretta LD 150 Milan

Lambretta LD 150 Mark 2

02/05/09 – Lambretta LD 150 scooter built by Innocenti in Milan circa 1954-56. (more…)

Czech and Japanese matchbox labels

matchbox label book covers
29/01/09 – PIE books, Japan: Cesky Filumenisticky Design (2005) and Japanese Matchbox Label Collection 1920s-40s (2004). Text in Japanese. Maraid’s matchbox labels on flickr//

Oliver Tomas

  • Design historian and archivist based in Vancouver, Canada.
  • info[at]olivertomas[dot]com